Hands on learning is priceless and quite unique to the study abroad programs at St. Thomas. While abroad, the London Business Semester students take a class called Operations Management, which focuses on the supply chain and operations side of business. Our students had the opportunity to take learning out of the classroom and tour Fuller’s Brewery in London. Just to clarify, the legal drinking age in the United Kingdom is 18 years old, and all of our students were of age on the tour.
Established in 1845, Fuller’s is the only independently run brewery in England. Fuller’s has a unique history and was founded by John Bird Fuller, Henry Smith and John Turner. Things have changed throughout the years at Fuller’s but one thing has remained- they want to provide their customers with the best drinking experience possible. At the Fuller facilities, George Gales is also brewed according to all of their recipes. Between Fuller’s and Gales, there is 9 or 10 different types of brews, as well as a couple of seasonal brews in production at any given time. With an output of 215,000 barrels a year and 60,000 pints daily, Fuller’s is also exported to 69 different countries all over the world, yet has managed to keep operation on a human scale.
Touring the brewery, our group was introduced to the operational components of Fuller’s, learned what goes into the craft of brewing and even did some sampling to get a taste of the Fuller’s tradition. Fuller’s is famous for their beers, ales, seasonal brews, and of course, their flagship beer known as London Pride. The London Pride has been the UK’s best selling cast-conditioned ale for over 60 years and makes up 80% of production.
The brewing process is fascinating and has transformed from an art into a modern day operation considered to be a science. In the 19th century, the brew master would carefully monitor the brews, and would go off of taste, appearance and aromas alone to make careful adjustments along the way. Today, the process, while still quite articulate, has morphed into a science with the steps along the way being precise and tested throughout to ensure much more regulated results. Beer consists of four simple ingredients: water, grains, hops and yeast. 1 pint of beer alone requires 4 quarts of water to make it. At Fuller’s nothing is wasted and when a component reaches its final stage of usage, is sold to other companies to be used for different means.
At the end of the tour we taste tested the London Pride, a seasonal brew called the Red Fox, Oliver’s Island which started off as a seasonal best seller and quickly became a regular brew, a Craft Logger, and the Organic Honeydew.
Thank you Fuller’s for this incredible opportunity. Cheers!